The announcement came as nearly 8,000 cases have been reported worldwide, almost all of them in mainland China.
The World Health Organization declared on Thursday that the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak was a global health emergency, acknowledging that the disease now represents a risk beyond China, where it emerged last month.
The decision reversed the organization’s decision just a week ago to hold off such a declaration.
Since then, W.H.O. officials said, thousands of new cases in China and clear human-to-human transmission in several other countries — now including the United States — warranted a reconsideration of that decision by the agency’s expert committee.
The W.H.O.’s declaration — officially called a “public health emergency of international concern” — does not have the force of law. But it serves notice to all United Nations member states that the world’s top health advisory body thinks the situation is grave.
Governments then make their own decisions about whether to close their borders, cancel flights, screen people arriving at airports or take other protective measures.
Declaring emergencies also adds urgency to any W.H.O. appeal for money. Thus far, that is hardly relevant: The countries most affected — China, Japan, Germany, South Korea, the United States and Vietnam — can afford to wage their own battles against the virus.
Luxury brands fear sales hit as Chinese shoppers stay home
The coronavirus outbreak in China is threatening the luxury goods industry with a significant sales hit after a decade of relentless growth fueled by Chinese shoppers.
The industry’s most important clientele, Chinese consumers are quarantining themselves at home and canceling trips abroad, where they often splurge on Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Cartier and other high-end brands. In Paris, luxury boutique staff are reporting a sharp drop in Chinese shoppers.
From The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal